Butler Basketball: Dawgs make the top five for transfer Bo Hodges

With possibly one scholarship open for this coming season, Butler basketball remains in the hunt for East Tennessee State transfer Bo Hodges.

With Jordan Tucker’s NBA Draft decision still looming, Butler basketball is remaining somewhat active in the transfer market. If Tucker elects to forgo his senior season, then the Dawgs will have one scholarship open for this coming season. While Butler has not been the most involved program in the portal this offseason, it was able to land a strong graduate transfer addition in Jair Bolden to fill a major hole in the backcourt.

Now, it appears as though the staff is targeting only one currently available transfer in the form of Bo Hodges from East Tennessee State. The staff conducted a virtual visit with Hodges and he also included the Dawgs in his “Top 5” release shortly after. A versatile performer with a great track record of success and impact, Hodges is one of the best available players on the market right now and is listed as a sit-one, play-one transfer.

He brings a strong-bodied 6-foot-5 frame to the table and is fresh off playing a leading role for an excellent East Tennessee State team that finished 30-4 last season. Over the course of the campaign, Hodges played/started 33 of 34 contests for the Buccaneers while averaging 12.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. He was a key part of their success on both ends of the floor and can definitely make an impact at a high-major program.

Offensively, Hodges is at his best when attacking the basket. He gets into the paint well with his size and strength while being able to consistently finish through traffic. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find many players as adept in this area, as Hodges shot 67.7 percent “at the rim” (105-for-155) during this past season. While he is not a jump-shooting threat, Hodges makes up for this by being flat-out elite as an attacker.

Perhaps most importantly, though, Hodges is tremendous on the defensive end as he contributes in just about every single way. He fits the mold of an ultra-versatile defender as he can cover multiple positions and is possibly at his best at the “3” or “4” spot in the rotation. He can be tasked with covering an elite individual scorer or thrive as a switching combo forward.

What makes Hodges so good defensively is his impressive intelligence with his ability to read defenses and missed shots. Hodges does not benefit from luck with his steal, block, and rebound rates. He just plays with a great motor and boasts the instincts necessary to excel in those areas. He is an outstanding defensive rebounder (18.1 DRB%) and does everything he can to push his teams to victory.

Considering his playing style and winning attitude, it is easy to understand why Butler is interested in potentially adding him for his last season of eligibility. With the Dawgs graduating five key pieces next offseason, they will be extremely young in 2020-21 with only three upperclassmen on the roster (two of whom barely played this past year). As a result, it makes perfect sense for the coaching staff to target Hodges.

Hodges is a proven veteran with an outstanding reputation for winning as well as being a great teammate. He would instantly fill a starting role by the time he is eligible to play and could be a major two-way difference-maker on a young roster with budding talent. His potential as a leader among that group also shouldn’t be overlooked.

While his lack of shooting ability is worth mentioning as a cause for concern, his all-around impact overshadows that. Even in the modern age when 3-point shooting is paramount to success, teams can certainly succeed with players that are not perimeter threats.

That was the case with Butler during this past year when full-time junior starters Aaron Thompson and Bryce Nze combined for just three total made 3-pointers. Those two will be part of the graduating group following this coming campaign, and will thus open the door for Hodges to follow in their footsteps.

Hodges’ overall positional versatility essentially allows him to fill just about any role on any roster. Butler is in need of an experienced piece to add for 2020-21 considering its high level of youth, and Hodges would be a superb fit. While I hesitate to call him a potential “bridge between eras”, he could be that type of player to keep the Dawgs performing at a high level despite lacking depth of experience for that season.

Hodges’ top five includes Butler, Arkansas, Tennessee State, Minnesota, and the possibility of returning to East Tennessee State. No matter where he ends up, Hodges will definitely be a strong contributor on both sides of the ball. He has his weaknesses but is a pretty rock-solid player on the whole.